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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Trials in Approaching Art: Beyond the Object, Beyond Sensation

by Nathaniel Williams


Today there are many trials in approaching art! Many approaches never come within the proximity of artistic experience or artistic inspiration. Indeed, many people are suspicious of inspiration which can lead to its marginalization in any investigation of art. Our lives are tremendously varied and complex. Within this complexity of experience, art and imagination have a particular power. Movies, music, literature and pictures take root in all manner of human lives and suddenly leaf out into moments of profundity, mystery and harmony. These subtle, yet powerful, experiences are not limited to culture. Sometimes similar moments surprise us in the midst of ordinary life. A friend may laugh and suddenly become a short story we wish we could write, or a wren, moving in the cloud-padded sunset’s pink, becomes a dance we cannot perform, while our breath is checked by a sudden intimacy in life’s bustle.
We can identify these experiences or terrains but it is difficult to speak about their nature. But before we try to speak we should start with an account of a profound experience of art’s transformative power from a real and particular life. Henrik Steffens (1773-1845), the Scandanavian philosopher, scientist and writer, wealthy in experience and then reminiscences (10 volumes of the latter), describes a number of such moments in his memoir, Was Ich Erlebte. Steffens, known mostly for his work in Geology, Physics and Anthropology and for his dedication to the sciences also had an artistic sensibility.

READ THE WHOLE ESSAY HERE 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Beyond the Object – Beyond Sensation: A Narrative Report


By David Adams

Let me state up front that for me this conference last July in Hudson, New York, was probably the most inspiring, stimulating, and innovative anthroposophical event I have participated in during forty years of involvement with anthroposophy. I’m not sure everyone there would feel this way, but it was a very diverse group of participants. This conference not only explored and showcased a number of new, cutting-edge modes of activity in the visual arts that anthroposophists are beginning to experiment with, in the general direction of adding elements of motion and time (and observer involvement) to the visual arts to give them more of the nature of music, a direction that Rudolf Steiner said art must take in the future. It also can be seen as pioneering a new mobile structure for an anthroposophical conference – partly by the design, preparation, and openness of the planners, partly by the creativity of those present, virtually all of whom were visual artists and/or musicians. This new form of anthroposophical gathering is essentially permeated by the artistic element but also brings deep content in a way that leaves the participants free to attend to it, even to modify it, as well as to deepen it with further contemplation and activity, or not. Participation is possible at a number of different levels simultaneously. However, I’m not yet sure how much this sort of approach can be extended to other kinds of conferences on other topics. Still, it gives me hope that anthroposophy may, in fact, continue to evolve in the forms of its expression. 

Link to the whole article